Durban - OPPOSITION parties have slammed the provincial Department of Health’s efforts to solve the lift problems plaguing Addington Hospital.
Four broken lifts resulted in fed up staff bringing operations to a standstill as they staged a protest outside the hospital last week.
In reaction to the protest, the department released a statement saying it had formed a working committee to tackle the day- to-day functioning of the hospital and the lift problems.
Inkatha Freedom Party health spokesperson Ncamisile Nkwanyana felt it was a disgrace how the department treated hospital.
“I do not have faith in this committee as it should not have been there in the first place."
She had questioned the department's recent argument that due to the close proximity of the hospital to the sea, it affected the functioning of the lifts.
“I do not believe that the sea destroys the lifts as there are hotels near the beach that do not have lift problems.” Nkwanyana said she wanted a report detailing what went wrong with the lifts.
Democratic Alliance spokesperson on Health Dr Viranna Singh said the formation of the committee was a little too late.
He said the committee should have been formed years ago to tackle the myriad of problems at the hospital that were not dealt with. "The committee was nothing more than a talk shop as there was no budget to back it up."
Singh said Tuesday’s staff protest was the culmination of years of staff frustration.
“It is worrying that they have to go through a protest for them to be heard.”
Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa provincial secretary Mandla Shabangu said the problem they had was that the department took long to take action on issues that have been raised.
He welcomed the formation of the committee and said it was a step in the right direction. Shabangu said the union had observed that there were many problems at the hospital that had not been resolved and proper maintenance of infrastructure had been a problem.
The department said the working committee would include organised labour, hospital management and senior officials from the department’s head office, among others. The committee would monitor the day-to-day running of the hospital and also watch over the repairs of the lifts.
The department said they were working closely with the service provider to ensure the lifts were fixed timeously.
It said: "Due to the specialised nature of the lift equipment, the parts for them have to be ordered from overseas which might affect their delivery to South Africa because of logistical challenges that have been brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic“.